The dark side of unlimited social media
Reclaiming brain space after a week of excessive consumption
3:12 am: I jolted out of bed as my phone screeched and buzzed. A message about a manhunt flashed across the screen. I tapped open the community Facebook group to see if a killer was stalking the area.
A tiny red dot demanded my attention. A comment had been posted. My heart rate soared, but not due to a murderous rampage. I was now seething at a misogynistic comment and rude reply to a post about my drawing club.
4:29 am: My mind raced about everything from cat litter in my Amazon cart to unanswered emails. The alert woke me up, but my habits were keeping me awake.
Last week, as an experiment, I gave myself permission to look at devices whenever they called to me. This stark contrast to my normal usage was eye-opening.
My brain digests social media the way my stomach processes cheese (poorly). Without going into all the harrowing details, I’ll just give you the side effects of consuming too much Instagram.
Side effects of social media over-exposure
Inability to focus
I'm not telling you to slam the door in Instagram's face, but pay close attention to how you consume social media. That way you can be mindful of its impact on your brain.
Since September 1, I've been closely monitoring how I use devices and inviting community members to join to do the same. We share our screen time numbers, set an intention, and encourage each other. If you ever need an extra bit of accountability or support, feel free to join us over in the chat.
Ways to avoid excessive social media consumption
Avoid checking first thing in the morning. Do ANYTHING else. I journal, walk dogs, eat, and clean before I even look at my phone.
Plan time to be offline. Our brains need less input to function at their best. This is why I reserve space on my calendar for walking dogs and yoga. Here’s my post with tips on ways to protect your brain space.
Install TabLimit (it's a free Chrome extension to limit how many tabs you have open at once).
Schedule time for stillness - I'm seriously considering a 20 - 30 minute Zoom where we just sit in silence and daydream. Would you come daydream with me?